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Coconut Stakeholders Commemorate the Tree of Life on Coconut Day 2nd Septemberr

("The Cocommunity" - Monthly APCC Newsletter
Volume 44, Series No. 9, 1 September 2014)

It will be the 16th Coconut Day this 2nd September since inauguration in 1999. Many coconut communities around the world gather to celebrate in many different ways in appreciation of the ‘Tree of Life’, to celebrate, commemorate and create awareness on the importance of the coconut to the lives of the countless millions of families living with and depending on the coconut tree. Representatives of the nations of India, Indonesia and Philippines were the foundational signatories to the instruments that established APCC under the auspices of UNESCAP in 1969, that day is declared and recognised internationally as Coconut Day 2nd September.

Philippines and Vietnam organised a National Coconut Week and for Philippines a 1st International Coconut Festival in 2014 between 27th and 31st August. India gathers each year in different coconut regions with 2014 World Coconut Day to be celebrated in Bangalore with the theme “Neera, the future of coconut sector in India”. Each coconut community around the world needs a product that would responsibly benefit farmers who grow coconuts, such is the case in India today with the Neera, a product that would regularly provide higher level of income directly to the farmer and is not exposed to price fluctuations of external market conditions. This is a sure way forward in addressing poverty reduction and sustaining livelihoods of marginalised families as summed up in the words of Gandhi on 03/05/1939 on coconut nectar, “.…..It is a way to solve the world's poverty. It is also an antidote against misery.”

Value addition will assist farmers generate higher levels of income in a more consistent manner over a longer term. New initiatives are being explored in the Pacific states whilst seeking technical assistance and technology transfer from more advanced Asian coconut nations. The recent UNESCAP theme of “Regional Connectivity for Shared Prosperity” is very suitable to the present mode of collaboration and partnership to be established amongst APCC member countries. The fear of competition is removed and replaced with sharing of knowledge and information that mutually benefits all parties in the Asia and Pacific Region as well as those accessing the network of APCC.

The positive evaluation remarks coming out of the 46th COCOTECH Conference in Colombo this year reaffirm that there is much encouragement and excitement developing about life under the coconut tree and on coconut farms. The market for non-traditional coconut products continues to expand in USA, Europe, China and now in Japan. The world’s leading beverage corporations are moving strategically in recent months to purchase large stakes in and taking ownership of coconut water brands such as Zico by Coca Cola, Vitacoco, Cocozia and names such as Naked by Pepsico Brazil. One factory in Thailand visited by APCC advised its monthly requirement for raw material is 10 million coconuts per month however it is not able to obtain this supply locally therefore it is hoping to buy from the western part of Indonesia a minimum of 5 million nuts per month if they can so as to meet their existing market demands.

The future is brightening and promising for the coconut sector as stakeholders unite in advancing technologies and increasing knowledge base that ensures viability in all aspects of the economy of coconut. Coconut growing communities are encouraged to pursue an aggressive planting program for new coconuts and rejuvenate old planting areas as demand for coconuts is an increasing scale.
At the APCC Secretariat in Jakarta we farewell the current Assistant Director as her term comes to an end and we wish her every success as she returns to her role in the Department of Agriculture in Thailand. We prepare to welcome her replacement in the ensuing months.

We wish our communities of coconut farmers and their families a successful Coconut Day 2014.

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